Inspiring — it’s a word that arises frequently when conversing with Edward Arthur Rose, III ’84 and Kelly Abele Rose ’84. Whether inquiring about their Clemson journeys, how and why they contribute to Clemson University, or why they give of their time and talent to students. The Roses were motivated by the Champions 4 Access to Education scholarship challenge created by Mark and Kathryn Richardson, which provided them with the opportunity to double their scholarship impact to $2 million for the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences. It’s all about being inspired and inspiring others.
Ed and Kelly Rose were both influenced to attend college by their parents, who recognized the influential value of education. Both of their fathers were able to pursue higher education because of scholarships from military commitments, and that generational impact on Ed and Kelly is one of the many reasons that led them to make their most recent gift of $1 million in scholarship support for students in the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences (CECAS).
The Roses say that their appreciation and love for Clemson has evolved over the years. As Clemson students in the early 1980s, Ed and Kelly treasured the lifelong friendships they made, the first National Championship for Clemson Football in 1981 and the education and personal growth they obtained. The deep passion for supporting students, however, was ignited when they were invited to learn more about the Clemson University of the 21st Century through the lens of CECAS, specifically its leadership, professors and students.
Ed and Kelly Rose realized that there is a critical need to help the bright, underserved and diverse students who would not be able to attend Clemson University without scholarships. The Roses also learned about the many professors who act as strong mentors for CECAS students and the wealth of opportunities for experiential engagement within CECAS that prepare students to thrive upon graduation.
Ed and Kelly watched Erin and Carter’s Clemson Experience grow beyond their expectations. They received not only a world-class education but also leadership, community and professional development. Ed and Kelly knew that they wanted more kids to have the same access as their children and to be able to flourish within a similar transformative Clemson Experience. Scholarships for Clemson students became a priority for the Rose family.
Ed says the decision to give back to CECAS was, “really, very simple,” describing Clemson as the springboard for his future. He remembers when he was preparing for graduation and applying for jobs. The assistant dean of engineering at that time was instrumental in helping him get his first job, recommending Ed as the top candidate for a position. Ed says the support he received is something that has stayed with him and was extremely meaningful. Kelly notes, “Because CECAS was responsible for connecting us back to Clemson at a deeper level and we have been able to see the unbelievable contribution those students are making to the state of South Carolina and beyond, we knew we wanted to focus on STEM scholarships.”
Last November, the Roses were first introduced to the scholarship challenge created by Mark and Kathryn Richardson. Through the Champions 4 Access to Education challenge, the Richardsons matched, dollar-for-dollar, $4 million to unrestricted scholarship endowments. The challenge is providing Clemson students with a total of $8 million in general scholarship support. Seeing that their gift could have an even greater impact, Ed and Kelly decided it was the right time to make this gift to scholarships. Their $1 million gift was instrumental in the completion of the challenge — which will have an incredible impact on Clemson students. While the challenge from the Richardsons gave them the final push, Ed and Kelly have been inspired by Clemson donors for many years, and today, they hope they can be that inspiration to others. As they give of their time, talent and treasure, they hope others will do the same.
Ed says, “Giving to Clemson was an incredibly easy decision for us to make — because Kelly and I and our kids attended Clemson and had a wonderful experience. Clemson really is special to us. We look at our engagement, and it has developed over time. We eventually became involved in very specific initiatives across campus, and it really deepened our appreciation for what Clemson does for its students.”
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